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High private sector rents lead to dangerous conditions

However, the lure of apparently easy money has led some landlords to ignore their responsibilities when it comes to maintaining properties and keeping them safe.
Matching tax receipts with the number of registered landlords shows that many are operating under the radar, either unintentionally or purposely. Additionally, many are either unaware of their legal obligations to tenants or choose to flaunt them. In some cases, these are small infringements, such as delaying on minor repairs. In others, the issues are more serious, such as out-of-date gas and electrical safety certificates, damp, inadequate sanitation and housing that is in a poor state of repair. In the worst cases, these landlords can find themselves subject to heavy fines or a ban on renting out the property until the issue has been fixed.Due to the scale of the problem, councils are now cracking down on so-called rogue landlords. Some are appointing specialist task forces. In one council, officers made visits to over 1,000 properties in the course of a year, serving 100 improvement notices. Jackie Smith, council cabinet member for community safety and environment, commented, “At a time when private sector rents are so high, it’s especially unacceptable for tenants to have to live in some of the poor, dangerous and often illegal conditions we have been seeing.”Overcrowding is also a growing problem, with landlords allowing and encouraging more people to live in the same properties to maximise their rent. This can lead to fire hazards. There are also requirements on the facilities required per resident, of which landlords may not always be aware. For example, for houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs), government guidance states there should be at least one toilet/bathroom per five occupants.If you are unsure of your legal responsibilities regarding your rental properties, speak to us. We are experienced in property law and can help landlords with all the expert advice needed. Call 01302 320621 or email

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